Mike Collins - Why not live a little and have a good time?
From a young age I accepted the Bible as fact. When I was young, I always comforted myself, that one day I would become a Christian, because my parents were Christians. I remember hearing in several sermons of the danger of relying on this.
Eventually I started to read my Bible and God helped me to understand it. I can remember not being able to sleep and feeling worried because I knew I was not right with God. I thought about what would happen if Jesus came again for judgement, as the Bible says he will. I knew he had not yet come, only because God is a merciful God and was being patient with sinners.
One night I really earnestly prayed to God that he might forgive me for being such a sinner. I knew in John 6:37 it is said, "The one who comes to me I will by no means cast out", and instead of praying vainly not meaning what I prayed, I prayed with all my heart and could not stop until I knew I was right with God. I then felt a peace and a joy and a love for God and he filled me with the Holy Spirit. I thank God for this more than anything – that he gave his only Son to live on earth and to die on the cross for such a condemned and dreadful sinner as me.
At first I carried on reading the Bible and praying to him daily, but I did not realise the importance of having my daily times with God. One day I slackened off and stopped reading the Bible and praying. Eventually, I felt a greater pull from the world and wanted to do the same things as my non-Christian friends.
At this time I was never so happy as I was when I was first saved or as I am now. I had backslidden away from God. I got really low and even got to the stage of doubting the existence of God. But I then realised this had to be impossible.
After a while I became really concerned, as I knew I was in really bad spiritual state. I was also not leading the life that God would want me to. I know you are not saved by the way you live your life, but it really concerned me, because the way you live your life shows if you truly love God.
I went and asked one of the Pastors for help and he gave me some Scriptures to go through and told me to come back and see him again. Sadly I did not read the Scriptures, nor did I go back to see him. I slid further away from God, until one night I cried to God that he might show me where I stood before him.
After this I started to gradually read the Bible again. I also started listening to the sermons instead of just sitting there daydreaming. I began to feel God pulling me back to him.
I went on a young people's weekend in Bournemouth and in the message I heard, God showed me again that I should be living the ‘narrow way.’
The narrow way: is difficult; there are few on it; it leads to heaven
The broad way: is easy; there are many on it; it leads to destruction
This is obviously a picture of how we can lead our lives and what they lead to. You can only go on one of the roads. When I got back from Bournemouth, I realised that God had dealt with me in such a merciful way - he had directed my paths and was bringing me back to himself.
A verse that encouraged me was in Proverbs 3:5-6, trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths". Now I can feel God helping me in every aspect of my life.
Some people have said to me, "Why take it so seriously?" In John 3:16 it is written, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. The section of the verse, "whosoever believes in him shall …have everlasting life", answers the question. It does not say "everybody shall have everlasting life.” It says "only those who believe in him shall have everlasting life". This is why it is so serious.
Some of my friends have said to me, "I'm a good person, I haven't killed anyone". The Bible says every man is sinner. If you look at the Ten Commandments you can realise that no one can keep or has kept these commandments except Jesus Christ the Son of God. We all fall short of the standard seen in Christ and are condemned.
Another question people ask me is, "Why not live a little and have a good time?" My answer to that is that since I have, by the grace of God, become a Christian, I am happier than when I was living just for this world and I take great joy in God's ways. Now I love his laws, instead of seeing them just as an everyday duty.
We deserve everlasting condemnation, but through Jesus Christ's death on the cross we are can be made right with God if we truly repent for our sins. It is written in John 10:28, "I have given them eternal life and they all never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out
my hand". I know this is true by my experience.